rain-damaged roads trigger thousands of calls for help

The NRMA said it has received 9,814 calls for help from drivers who have suffered wheel and tire damage so far this month, almost half of them from outside Sydney. Last year 7907 calls were received in the whole month.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the potholes were a “massive problem” for the organization and its members.

The amount of water on the road meant potholes were often hard to see and some were so deep that they caused significant damage to vehicles, beyond just a wheel or tire, leading to a spike in demand for tow trucks. “The damage is so great that you can’t just repair it at the side of the road.”

Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour said extreme weather in March and July damaged 435 local roads and the City Council was working around the clock to repair them. It had filled 862 potholes since the first weather event.

“I’m not surprised that we have a high number of roadside calls given the volume of traffic in and through our city,” he said. “It hasn’t escaped my notice that there are still some potholed roads, but the unpredictable and constant rain has hampered our teams.”

A report released in December by the Australian Local Government Association found that around 10 per cent of the country’s local roads were in poor condition, and association president Linda Scott said that number was likely to be higher now that the rain had fallen.

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“Roads make up nearly 40 percent of all municipal infrastructure — and replacing those that are in poor condition is estimated to cost nearly $18 billion. As climate change and resulting infrastructure damage worsens, these numbers are likely to underestimate true costs.”

The state government declared the weather events in March and July as natural disasters, and 33 local governments were affected by both. Municipalities covered by these declarations are eligible for joint state-federal funding to restore damaged roads and other public goods.

On the North Beaches, where 4,999 potholes were reported on local roads this year, the city council has quadrupled its annual budget for “heavy-duty patching” of road surfaces from $1 million to $4 million. It has also nearly doubled its pothole maintenance budget, from $300,000 to about $500,000. Most of the additional expenditure is due to storm damage and was paid for with immediate funds from the state government.

Blacktown City Council said the March event caused $11 million in damage to local roads and received $6 million in state funding to carry out repairs. The floods in July caused another 445 potholes.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley said the rain had worsened road damage suffered in March and its incessant nature hampered efforts to repair the grid. “It’s completely impossible to complete the task, which is completely frustrating for the community,” she said.

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https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/pothole-plague-rain-damaged-roads-trigger-thousands-of-calls-for-help-20220721-p5b3hn.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw rain-damaged roads trigger thousands of calls for help

Joel McCord

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